The Revenant (2015) Review

The Revenant (2015)

Directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Based on The Revenant by Michael Punke

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820’s fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team

My Opinion:

PELTS! I’ve never heard that word so many times in my life… Man, January is a tough month for movies. As if winter isn’t depressing enough as it is?? (I’m not a fan of winter. Winter can go screw itself). Seriously – why can’t they release lighthearted, happy films in January? I’ll admit that The Revenant is good, though. Grim as hell! But good grim. Your typical Oscar-Worthy January Release Grim.


PELTS!

I fully admit that I watched this movie for one reason only: Leonardo DiCaprio. I’ve always thought Leo was a fantastic actor who didn’t get enough credit in his early days because he was too “pretty” (he’s luckily getting the recognition he deserves the past few years now). I’ve only seen one of the other Actor Oscar nominees (Fassbender in Steve Jobs) but I’ll be very surprised if Leo doesn’t finally get his gold statue this year. He definitely earns it in The Revenant and the movie is worth watching for his performance alone.


LUCY VAN PELT!

That’s not to say that The Revenant isn’t a good film without Leo – it just isn’t my sort of “thing” and I know I wouldn’t have watched it if it had starred someone else. I have to say that it’s breathtakingly beautiful and if I didn’t hate winter & cold with a passion, I’d want to visit the places where this was filmed. Gorgeous. And I don’t know exactly how much CGI was involved in this overall but nothing looked iffy to me & the bear attack looked damn good (I know Leo is a very dedicated actor but I’m assuming he wasn’t attacked by a real bear).


*Actual scene from The Revenant

This movie is even more brutal than I was expecting for its 15 rating in the UK (I’m assuming it’s rated R in America?). But, as I said with Dead Snow (and the curiously snowless Dead Snow 2!), there’s something quite striking about red blood-splattered snow and you get plenty of that here. Does that make me sound like a psycho?! I just mean, artistically, it looks cool. I’m a wuss about violence, though, and The Revenant certainly made me squeamish a few times. Hell, just seeing the eating of all the raw animal meat was gross enough for me! I’d have made a really shitty frontierswoman. I could never even make it very far through The Oregon Trail before dying of dysentery.

Summary:

The Revenant is a beautifully shot story of survival & revenge with stellar performances from all involved (but especially DiCaprio – his performance blows everyone else’s away). It’s epic in scope and if you have a spare 7 hours & 36 minutes, I’d certainly recommend this film as I’d be very surprised if it doesn’t get that Best Picture Oscar as well as Best Actor Oscar. As always, though, my ratings are based first & foremost on my own personal enjoyment of a film with about 30% based on a film’s “worthiness”. The Revenant is worthy and I’m glad I experienced its beauty in the cinema. I hope it wins lots of awards but I’d prefer to not sit through it again anytime soon.

My Rating: 7.5/10


BJÖRK PELT!

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Dead Snow 2: Red Vs Dead (2014) Review

**Welcome to Horror Comedy Week on Cinema Parrot Disco! I actually got my shit together enough to have an actual theme this week! Okay, it wasn’t originally my plan but I realized that I’d watched enough horror comedies to have a themed week. Yay!**

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Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead (2014) (Norwegian: Død Snø 2)

Directed by Tommy Wirkola

Starring: Vegar Hoel, Orjan Gamst, Martin Starr, Ingrid Haas, Jocelyn DeBoer, Stig Frode Henriksen, Kristoffer Joner

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Still on the run from a group of Nazi zombies, a man seeks the aid of a group of American zombie enthusiasts, and discovers new techniques for fighting the zombies.

My Opinion:

I really liked the first Dead Snow (I reviewed it HERE). I mean, it’s full of Norwegians and NAZI ZOMBIES for crying out loud. That’s so awesomely crazy. Then the second film came out and all I heard was that it was absolutely hilarious and even better than the first one so I of course had to check it out. I actually bought both of these on DVD. Does anyone do that anymore? I buy hardly any these days – I miss physical copies of movies! And I miss physical copies of music even more. *sigh* I miss the old days… Tangent over! The first Dead Snow is far better than the sequel. Sorry sequel lovers! Dead Snow 2 definitely ups the comedy BIG TIME and I did get some laughs out of it but it goes so far overboard that, as a film, it pales in comparison to the originality and the subtle dark humor of the first film. Plus, where’s the fucking SNOW in this one?!


(See? I was so proud of my foreign DVD haul when I picked up Dead Snow that I tweeted this photo in March 2014. That’s probably the last time I bought so many at once.)

I’m not going to say that you shouldn’t watch this one if you liked the first one. It’s definitely worth checking out if you did but be aware that it’s a very different film. As this is a sequel, there will be slight spoilers for the first film (but I’ll still try to avoid spoiling things too much as I really want any zom-com lovers to watch the first film). Anyway, when you fall behind on horror movies you can’t help but know who survives the previous film when they’re clearly in the sequel, so… The survivor from the first film is our hero in this one and I like him so was happy to have that link to the first film.

He’s the best thing about the sequel (along with that other guy in the picture, who was a fun new addition) and, without him, I’d have enjoyed this movie far less. He’s the only true link here due to there not only being NO SNOW in this one but, also, our main Nazi zombie from the first movie is so completely different in this one. In Dead Snow 2, the Nazi zombies aren’t really threatening or scary – they’re just silly. Well, the whole movie is just plain silly.

Silly! That’s really the best way to describe the comedy in the sequel and, while I’m certainly not above “silly” (I still crack up at the silliest knock knock jokes), I just usually prefer my comedy to be a little more subtle and less over-the-top. Which is “funny” as I remember my main complaint about the first film was that it wasn’t funny enough. Maybe there’s just no satisfying me! 😉 Well, I take back that original complaint as this movie took it a little too far. Maybe Dead Snow 3 can find the perfect comedic balance! I’d still watch a third film as I really did enjoy both of these films despite my complaints.

Yes, I did enjoy this one despite my negative-sounding review! I just can’t help but compare it to the first film… Sorry! I can see why some people like this one more – I guess it just depends on what type of movie you prefer. Plus, I really hated the “American zombie enthusiasts” who help our hero fight the Nazi zombies. I found them annoying and completely unfunny (even the Star Wars nerd-girl!). They’re the worst example in this of “trying too hard” whereas the horror-movie-loving-nerd from the first movie was a lot of fun and a really likeable character. Plus, the back & forth language thing between Norwegian & English once the Americans arrived was actually very distracting (and confusing, in a way, as I didn’t immediately realize that I was no longer reading subtitles! Odd).

I’m going to wrap this up as I’m sounding negative again & I don’t want to be that way as I would definitely recommend both of these movies to horror comedy lovers (especially zom-com lovers). Despite some annoying new characters, there are quite a few funny moments and I did laugh out loud a few times (like with that kid in the hospital room. Funny!). I just prefer the characters and the “spirit” of the first film (and the fact that there’s actually SNOW in the movie, which is pretty damn important, yeah? Blood-splattered snow & all that? It’s a big selling point! There’s snow on the damn poster for this so at least the poster-maker realized its aesthetic importance).

I’ve realized while writing this what it is about this movie compared to the first one and I really shouldn’t make this comparison as my knowledge is limited on the movies I’m about to mention, but… Here I go anyway! When I was about 18, I rented The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II and wasn’t really the biggest fan of them so I’ve not watched them since (although I do appreciate their importance). So, I don’t remember them well but I do remember preferring the first one while the second one went all silly, right? That’s exactly the same with Dead Snow & Dead Snow 2 so, thinking about it, it makes perfect sense as the Snow films both owe a lot to and reference great classic horror movies, especially the Dead films (without giving away too much, the Evil Dead II arm thing plays an important part in Dead Snow 2). Holy shit – these are clearly an homage to the Evil Dead films and I only fully realized that while writing this review. I’m such an idiot! Ignore everything I said before this paragraph! 😉 If you’re a fan of the Evil Dead films, you’ll love the Dead Snow films too! Huh. Well, damn… I guess Dead Snow 3: Nazi Zombie Army Of Snowless Darkness comes next. I’ll watch that but I’ll still always like the first one the most.

My Rating: 6/10

My Top Ten Toilet Scenes In Movies

Yep, I’m going there! Sort of. I’m not normally a fan of “toilet humor”. I find the loads of poop scenes that Hollywood squeezes out to be gross & only occasionally funny. This was originally going to be My Top Ten Poop Scenes but I didn’t know how to go about ranking that. Would I rank them by humor or by gross-out factor? I found that, in the end, there just weren’t ten poop scenes that I enjoyed enough to compile into a list. So I decided to wipe that idea & start out fresh.

As a companion piece to my most-viewed post, My Top Ten Shower & Bath Scenes In Movies, this list will contain scenes that all involve a toilet in some way. As in, that thing you sit on (or stand in front of if you’re a guy). Outhouses also count as do public toilet stalls. In some cases, poop may be involved. I guess I should move onto sinks next & then I’ll have the whole bathroom covered! 🙂 (Hmm… that came out sounding a bit like another poop joke).

Anyway! Here are My Top Ten Toilet Scenes In Movies:

Honorable Mention:

Headhunters

This deserves a mention as, although I’ve been planning this top ten list for a while, I decided it was time to finally post it after reviewing Headhunters with Laura of Filmnerdblog on Monday (our review chat is HERE). Very good Norwegian movie with an extremely disgusting outhouse scene!

10. TIE: Dead Snow & Night Of The Creeps

There are so many horror movies with bathroom scenes! I guess I prefer the ones that are more horror/comedy. These are two of the first scenes I thought of when I decided to do this list and I have to say that the Dead Snow outhouse scene was hilariously gross (mainly for the finger-sucking as he’d JUST wiped himself. NASTY!)

9. TIE: Witness & Lethal Weapon 2

These both deserve to be much higher on the list so I’ll explain why they aren’t. I immediately thought of Lethal Weapon as it’s such a famous scene. In fact, it’s the only scene I remember from any Lethal Weapon movies & I had to Google which one the scene was actually in (number 2! how appropriate). As for Witness, this is the closest I’ve come to “cheating” on one of my lists as, in doing a search for toilet scenes online, I “re-discovered” this one. I didn’t remember this scene at all from when I saw this years ago but after watching it on YouTube I couldn’t leave it off the list. The scene is intense. And, holy shit, the whole movie is based on what happens in that bathroom. Plus… Danny Glover was in the Witness scene too! What?! Okay, I seriously need to re-watch both of these movies.

8. Arachnophobia

The shower scene in this gets all the attention, of course, but I think I was more disturbed by the spider under the lid of the toilet seat while the dad was sitting on it. To this day, I sometimes check under toilet seats for spiders. Seriously. Thanks a lot, Arachnophobia!

7. Full Metal Jacket

Disturbing scene but certainly memorable. (But I still prefer Vincent D’Onofrio as Thor in Adventures In Babysitting) 😉

6. Despicable Me

I adore this movie & certain scenes still crack me up every single time. This is one of them. I love when Gru is explaining his evil plan & turns the page to find the drawing the girls did of him on the toilet. I love those girls. 🙂

5. Monsters, Inc

And… Monsters, Inc! Another movie that I adore as much as Despicable Me. It’s cute when we see them all hiding in the toilet stall as Randall kicks the door open yet doesn’t see them all hiding there.

4. Jurassic Park

Again, this scene was one of the first that I thought of. I’ve realized that most in my list don’t involve actually using the toilets for their intended purpose! They’re clearly a good place to hide. Except from dinosaurs, I guess…

3. The Goonies

I was always confused by this scene. I mean, would it actually be possible for water pressure to cause a toilet to blow up into the air like that? Plus, the guy is clearly sitting on the toilet with underwear on. How do you poop through your underwear??

2. The Godfather

When I thought of toilets in movies, I thought of their different uses. Such as… Hiding things in or behind the tank. I swear there are several scenes like this (one movie has someone hiding money in the tank – is it Pretty Woman?? Not sure). Anyway, the gun hidden behind the toilet tank in The Godfather was the best one I could think of.

1. Trainspotting

Obviously. Ewan McGregor’s toilet swim is famous. Or infamous? Well, it’s super gross but no one who has seen the scene will ever forget it.

Some That Didn’t Make The List (but I did think of them):

Fast Times At Ridgemont High (since it’s already on my list of My Top Five Movie Scenes Of Self-Pleasure, of course)
The Big Lebowski
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
Slumdog Millionaire
Scream 2
Pulp Fiction
Saw

Now let’s end this with some scenes actually involving poop that I did find amusing:

Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle (“You sank my battleshit!” I love the Harold & Kumar movies)
Bad Grandpa (sorry, but the shart up the wall was pretty damn funny)
American Pie (not the best poop scene EVER but a pretty funny movie overall so I’ll give it some credit)
The Help (there’s a lot involving actual toilets in this movie but I saved it for the “poop list” as the actual “shit” scene is awesome – loved it!)
Caddyshack (okay, it’s not actually poop plus I already included it in My Top Ten Swimming Pool Scenes In Movies)

By the way, I don’t believe I ever actually saw all of Ghoulies

Dead Snow (2009) Review

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Dead Snow (2009) (Norwegian: Død snø)

Directed by Tommy Wirkola

Starring:
Vegar Hoel
Stig Frode Henriksen
Charlotte Frogner
Lasse Valdal
Evy Kasseth Røsten
Jeppe Laursen
Jenny Skavlan
Ane Dahl Torp
Bjørn Sundquist
Ørjan Gamst

Running time: 91 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Dead Snow is a 2009 Norwegian zombie splatter film that centers on a group of students surviving a Nazi zombie attack in the mountains of Norway.

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My Opinion:

This is my second favorite Norwegian movie of all-time after Troll Hunter! (Okay – they’re the only Norwegian movies I’ve seen). This is also the third zombie comedy I’m reviewing for my month of horror movie reviews (that I totally flaked out on and stopped posting for a week). I liked Dead Snow much more than Life After Beth but, while I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much The Return Of The Living Dead, I did like it and thought it showed a lot of promise. I’ve heard some pretty positive things about the sequel and am not surprised as I thought this was a great concept that didn’t quite work overall but could possibly be improved upon in a sequel. I’ll have to check that out at some point.

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What does work is, as I said, the concept. Nazi zombies! Why did no one think to do that sooner? Or HAS it been done before? Not that I can think of. A lot of reviews have also mentioned the look of the blood on all that white snow and it did make for a great look to the film. Also, the characters are decent. At least, as far as horror movie characters go, a few of them are fairly well developed. There’s a great “movie nerd” guy who keeps talking about & quoting movies throughout the film so that was fun for a geek like me. And guess what? Slight spoiler, but… He’s the one who gets laid! So there may still be hope for movie geeks (maybe even Mike?). 😉

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I think what didn’t work quite as well as I’d been hoping was the comedy. The movie takes itself slightly more seriously than I was expecting and a couple scenes felt a little too dramatic for a comedy. The pacing was a little off as well as it seemed too slow at first then suddenly gets pretty mental at the end. These aren’t huge complaints, though, as I still thought it was pretty good. I think I’m just trying to figure out why I didn’t like it QUITE as much as I should have as it’s my type of thing and all the elements are there for it to potentially be great. I think they could have upped the comedy more and been a little more silly and made it a bit more “fun”. It sounds like this may be the case in the sequel?

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Summary:

If you’re looking for comedy horror, I’d recommend Tucker & Dale Vs Evil or Grabbers instead as they were just loads of fun. If you specifically like zombie movies, though, I think you’d be perfectly happy with this as a zombie comedy as well as just a zombie movie. The gore gets fairly excessive at the end so that should keep zombie fans happy. It’s not as funny as The Return Of The Living Dead but there were a few unexpected laughs and the characters are more well developed and likable than a lot of horror movie characters manage to be. The movie doesn’t quite reach its potential but it’s still a pretty good effort. However, I can’t believe that girl sucked that guy’s finger just after he’d done a poo & wiped himself and hadn’t yet washed his hands!!!!! That’s just nasty.

My Rating: 7/10

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